Nino Machaidze

Romantic Arias

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Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze burst onto the international opera scene when she appeared as a last-minute stand-in for Anna Netrebko in a production of Roméo et Juliette at the 2008 Salzburg Festival that also featured Rolando Villazón. She was 25 at the time, so she made a believably girlish Juliette, but she also had the vocal maturity, rock-solid technique, and voluptuous voice to make a sensational impression. Her first solo album, for Sony, includes nine scenes and arias from the Italian and French repertoire that showcase her coloratura agility and tonal warmth, including two from the opera that brought her into the public spotlight. "Ah! Je veux vivre," from early in the opera, and Juliette's death scene could hardly be more contrasting and Machaidze's vivacity and exuberance in the former and devastating grief in the latter document her emotional range and fully validate the rapturous reception of her Salzburg performances. Her voice has a velvety sensuality that's particularly effective in conveying the extreme passionate states of the operatic characters. She is most successful giving voice to heightened joy and tragedy; she is no less effective vocally in the comic scenes but she doesn't bubble with the spontaneous giddiness of a natural comedian. Her tone is notable for a generous openness and freedom that blossom thrillingly as she ascends above the staff. She lingers with apparent ease in the heights of arias like "O luce di questa'anima," from Linda di Chamounix. Michele Mariotti and Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna provide an unusually supple, sensitive, and elegant accompaniment. Sony's sound is clean, spacious, and warmly ambient.

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